Swallow closing in on century of victims

CHRIS Swallow claimed five Staffordshire wickets yesterday to leave him one short of a century of Minor Counties Championship victims.

The Suffolk off spinner kept Staffordshire’s batsmen in check after the visitors had won the toss on the opening day of the three-day match at Ipswich School.

Swallow extracted turn and bounce from the Ivry Street wicket - three of his victims were caught at short leg by Martyn Cull - as the visitors declared on 273 for nine after their maximum 90 overs.

Suffolk reached 120 for one in reply, Ben France being dismissed off what was the final ball of the day after both he and opening partner Tom Huggins posted half centuries.

The hosts will be disappointed that Staffordshire recovered from a precarious 122 for five, and also that their last two wickets added a further 63 runs.


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Paul Goodwin and Ben McGuire, who came together in the 46th over, shared a sixth-wicket stand of 74 in 65 minutes to put their innings back on course.

Goodwin’s 54 came from 123 deliveries and contained seven boundaries and McGuire contributed 36 before he fell in the 67th over to James Finch.

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Any thoughts Suffolk held of wrapping up the innings quickly were dispelled by Greg Willott, whose undefeated 40 spanned 88 balls with six fours.

He added 25 for the eighth wicket with Gareth Morris until the latter struck Finch straight to Tony Palladino at short mid-wicket, and in tandem with No.11 David Edwards prolonged Suffolk’s stay in the field longer than they would have wished in the searing heat,

A further 38 runs were added in 43 minutes as Staffordshire just missed out on a third batting point by two runs.

Huggins raced out of the blocks as Suffolk rattled along at a healthy rate before France also started to strike the ball sweetly and caught his partner up.

France, on 36, had an escape when he was dropped at backward point off a miscued drive but otherwise bat dominated ball as they compiled a century opening stand inside 18 overs.

Huggins was first to his fifty in the 20th over and France followed in the next over, but just when it looked like they would end the day without being separated France was adjudged leg before, much to his displeasure, to slow left armer Morris.

He had faced 83 balls and hit eight fours and a six and his dismissal came six runs short of Suffolk’s record first-wicket stand against Staffordshire, set in 1996 by Derek Randall and Russell Catley at Stone.

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